Election Day In Yankton

A poll worker hands a ballot over to a voter during Tuesday’s voting at Fire Station No. 2 in Yankton. Both the volunteer worker and the voter wore masks, plus a sheet of Plexiglas separated them — all part of the precautions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Yankton City Commission will welcome a new face along with a couple of commissioners — one incumbent and one former — coming in for a second term.

Ben Brunick will be joining incumbent Stephanie Moser and Tony Maibaum, who had previously served on the board.

The City Commission election had been scheduled for April 14, but was ultimately postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Commissioners Chris Ferdig and Jake Hoffner opted not to run again.

Brunick, who finished second with 1,668 votes, told the Press & Dakotan that he was appreciative of everyone who made their voice heard in a trying time.

“I appreciated everyone that voted — not just the ones who voted for me but everyone who voted,” he said. “It was really wonderful to see that big of a turnout for the election.”

He also thanked his competitors, the county for allowing the city to piggyback on the primary election and those who worked the polls on Tuesday.

Brunick added that the beginning will be a learning process.

“My first goal is to learn as a city commissioner,” he said. “I want to get in and listen to as many folks as I can and learn as much as I can so decisions that are being made are as informed as they can be.”

Returning to the commission for a second term, in first place with 1,756 votes, is Stephanie Moser.

“I’m just really honored and humbled by the voters of Yankton that they had the confidence in me, after my first three-year term, to reelect me,” Moser said. “I really enjoyed my first three years on the commission and I feel like there’s a lot more that I can do. I’m just honored that the citizens of Yankton felt the same way.”

She added that the commission will have to watch what it’s able to do after two years of crises.

“We have to be responsible and reasonable in what we can do in the next couple of years as a City Commission as we look at those with flood damage,” she said. “Obviously, the pandemic is not going away anytime soon, so I think we just have to continue to watch.”

Maibaum, who received 1,340 votes, said he was happy to be prompted to return to the board after opting not to run for a second term in 2019.

“Nothing but gratitude for everyone who encouraged me to join the commission again,” Maibaum said.

As with Moser, Maibaum said there will likely be some realities to face during budgeting sessions this summer.

“In the next couple of months, there are going to have to be some big decisions related to our city’s budget,” he said. “I would say — for the first time in a long time — it’s going to be two nights worth when we have our next CIP (capital improvement plan) meeting. There’s going to be a lot of conversations about whether or not things need to be cut.”

Other challengers included Bruce Viau, who received 994 votes and Timothy “Sean” Wamble who received 743 votes.

But the City Commission race wasn’t the only local race in Yankton County.

Incumbent County Commissioner Don Kettering and Wanda Howey-Fox were the top vote getters in Tuesday’s Republican primary race for Yankton County Commissioner at Large, and will advance to the November general election.

Kettering won 40 percent of the vote (1,451 votes); Howey-Fox won 33 percent of the (1,172 votes); and Ward Youngblom came in third with 27 percent of the vote (964 votes).

Kettering, an incumbent, shared a few thoughts with the Press & Dakotan on Tuesday’s results.

“All three of us that ran, I believe, could have done a very good job,” he said. “Wanda is a very experienced lady that’s had lots of time in the community and is a tough negotiator, and I'm very hopeful that Ward uses this as a building block to move forward in his political aspirations for the county because I believe he has a lot to offer.”

Kettering plans to examine several issues, including economic development in the county, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and medical professions, he said.

“I'm hopeful that the County Commission will come together and do a better job than we have for the last couple of years,” he said.

Howey-Fox said she hadn’t thought much about what to do after the primary, because she was focused on winning.

“I'm just excited that I prevailed in the primary and look forward to November,” she said. “I might attend a few County Commission meetings and see what they're working on. I know that there are some things that shouldn't be going on that are going on.”

Kettering and Howey-Fox will face off against Independents Bill Conkling and incumbent Gary Swensen along with Democrat Bob Gleich in the general election for two open spots on the board.

Tuesday night’s results are unofficial and will be canvassed later this week.

In total, 4,149 ballots were cast in Yankton County. Of those, 35 were submitted completely blank including 14 that had been submitted absentee.

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